“We all need emotional support from time to time. Our vision is that one day, every single person will have their own listener. With the help of technology, 7 Cups of Tea is bringing together caring people who want to help others with those who just need to talk to someone. Help us spread the word. Give peace of mind to people in need of a kind ear, heartfelt compassion and real understanding.”
Down with the Sickness
I called in sick the other day. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for a few weeks now. Initially, I thought it was the flu. And as such took one day off work last week. But for the rest of the week felt up to going, if not 100%.
Less than altogether better, I could have easily called off Friday nights engagement. As it was, I cancelled my Saturday appointment and have contributed to the revenue of producers and sellers of cold and flu medication.
Following a weekend of singing, I went to work with sandpaper voice/throat. After not sleeping well Monday night, I decided to take Tuesday off.
Therefore, while I capitalised upon the opportunity to get some more sleep and keep warm, social media distraction got the better of me. And so, scrolling Facebook, I came upon a post from a friend who works in mental health.
Admittedly, I spend a lot of time online. This has been the case since I bought my first computer half a lifetime ago. I have wondered, in light of my aspirations, whether there was a forum for really helping people online. Sure, there has been generic and unintentional chat rooms and other social media platforms. But before this week, I didn’t know there was a place intent on bringing people together. In terms of my counselling training, we talk about seekers and helpers.
Introducing 7 Cups of Tea.
According to the ever trustworthy Wikipedia:
“7 Cups (formerly called 7 Cups of Tea) is a website (also an app) which provides free support to people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with trained listeners. The listener, trained in active listening, interacts with the person seeking help via anonymous and confidential chat.”
So I signed up, did some basic training, and effectively took my first caller. It has been a great opportunity for me to put into practice some of my training, while at the same time, providing some real, compassion driven help to those seeking it.
This service is pretty much free, confidential, and anonymous for those seeking emotional support. Upon login, listeners are presented with a list of members wanting someone to talk to. Both members and listeners are identified and protected by a screen name. Sharing of personal identifiers is strongly discouraged.
A conversation looks much like the typical chat room. The listener introduces themselves, and the function that 7 cups exists to serve. A listener’s role is self-explanatory: to listen to members sharing their struggles, whatever those struggles might be.
So far I have had a dozen or so conversations and am finding it both challenging and rewarding.